At Last A Predictable
Crackle Glaze/Crackle Varnish
A crackle glaze is a simple idea, they attempt to re-create
the effect of old varnish that cracks and crazes over time.
A crackle glaze or crackle varnish, generally consists
of a base coat and a top coat. The way they work is simple the
water-based varnish dries quicker than the oil-based one, and
the movement from the underlying layer, which is still drying,
causes the top layer to crack.
I have used many of the available glazes in my time,
oil based varnishes with a water based top coat, made from
animal glue or an acrylic varnish, the oil based crackle glazes
were often difficult to control owing to the temperature range
they worked under, also it was difficult to control the size of
the cracks, as the picture on the left shows.
Here are some examples of
weathered two part oil and water crackle varnish, some of
these have had added an ageing glaze to give an older
appearance to the metal leaf. Please note in all these
examples and others that follow we use only imitation gold
leaf, of course if you do want to use real gold leaf you
can do so, you will get very much the same effects.
Because the traditional oil/water glazes are sometimes
difficult to get results from, due to local temp, humidity etc,
I no longer sell them from this site, I had too many complaints
about not getting results.
The fact is with this type of traditional two part crackle
you have to practice in your own environment, and like any
skill it takes time to master.
However I have shown pictures of the oil/water glaze as,
when it works, it produces a nice variety of medium sized
The only glaze I am prepared to call predictable is the
two part acrylic glaze that I sell from here and which produces
a fine network of cracks as the picture in the top right
There are only two stipulations with regard
this crackle varnish. Work should not be done in cold
conditions, and make sure you apply thin coats.
Apply a thin coat of the base glaze, wait until it is dry,
(it becomes transparent when dry).
Then apply a coat of the top glaze. As this coat dries it
also becomes transparent, it is during this drying phase that
the cracks form.
The cracks that form will be quite fine, and it may be that
you will not see them until you apply an antique glaze, see
You can purchase this simple and reliable 2 part
crackle glaze from the gilding
It is normal after applying the crackle glaze, to
apply an antique glaze over it in order to highlight the
cracks, lets see how the
antique glaze is applied.
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